The 2022-23 School Budget included funding to enhance the 12:1:1 special needs classroom at Averill Park High School. During the Winter Break, Averill Park Central School District’s Buildings and Grounds team transformed the room into a brand-new space for students.
“We are thrilled with the new classroom,” said APHS Special Education teacher Tracy Ferlito. “We like to call the classroom a ‘living lab.’ The layout will assist us in preparing our 18-to-21-year-old students for life after high school.”
Activities that take place within the classroom include a cooking class and clean up after cooking, as well as a thorough weekly cleaning, laundry, and preparation for the District’s Backpack Program.
Ferlito added that the reconfiguration of the room has created much more space in the kitchen where more students can work at one time, and the living room area lends itself to a book club and morning meeting.
“We have so much more space to move around. Especially in the kitchen!” a student in the program said.
“With the shift in so many of our programs, including the 12:1:1 program housed in this room, focusing on the development of life skills that will be applicable to students in the real world, this update will really impact our ability to meet student needs across the board,” High School Principal Heath Quiles said. “In addition to using the space for the 12:1:1 program, staff have been wonderful about sharing the room in collaborative ways so that the resource is available to programs throughout the building for projects that involve cooking, and other life skills.”
The room can have up to 12 students, with one teacher and one classroom aide. The program is designed to work with young people who have great academic needs, with instruction tailored to their skill levels, as well as to develop the life and social skills necessary for success in life after high school.
The improvements were made possible through the use of a $100,000 Capital Outlay project, which receives State Building Aid in the year following the completion of the project. The District will receive approximately $77,900 in State Building Aid in 2023-24 as reimbursement.